Everywhere you look on the Internet these days, someone is offering a "fantastic new" Internet business opportunity. Many of these, of course, are built on MLM models.
Some of the questions asked (or which should be asked) by people unfamiliar with MLM and/or Internet businesses and Internet marketing are:
1. What is an MLM business?
2. Is an MLM business even legal?
3. Can I make money with an MLM business?
4. Should I get involved with THIS online MLM business?
5. What do I need to do to be successful in an MLM business - online or offline?
6. Having looked at the items above, do I still REALLY want to do this?
WHAT IS MLM?
MLM stands for multi-level marketing. Simply put, MLM means that the business allows its distributors or representatives to recruit others into a downline. The "recruiter" then collects commissions from sales made by downline members as well as personal sales. MLM is commonly linked with network marketing which is marketing done essentially by word of mouth. In the U. S. some well known MLM network marketing companies are Avon cosmetics, Shaklee supplements and home care products, and Ameriplan health care plans.
IS MLM LEGAL?
MLM itself is a perfectly legal way for a company to distribute commissions and create a large sales force. The problem is that many unscrupulous companies and individuals have used the MLM model to promote illegal or quasi-legal "products". As a result, most people equate the term MLM with illegal schemes such as the "Make $90,000 In 90 Days" letter, the "Lawyer Brown" or "David Rhodes" letter, or other pyramid or Ponzi schemes in which the only "product" is the opportunity to get others to send money for the opportunity of making money with the pyramid scheme.
Usually, the single most important deciding factor, although not necessarily the only one, in determining if an MLM proposal is legitimate is a simple question. Is this company selling an ACTUAL product or service? Remember; just because an MLM company is legal DOES NOT necessarily mean that it is a good place to invest your time and money. Do your homework.
CAN I MAKE MONEY WITH MLM?
Absolutely. Millions of people around the world are participating in MLM network marketing ventures and making money...many making LOTS of money. I have two personal friends who became millionaires with MLM companies...Excel Telecommunications, and Ameriplan dental plans. However, an MLM opportunity is just that...an opportunity. There is no guarantee that anyone WILL make money with MLM or any other business opportunity for that matter. Success in any business venture depends on a lot of factors, and for all its apparent simplicity in most cases, a multi-level marketing business is just that...a business. Most failures in MLM come from the same reasons that other small businesses fail; lack of information, lack of education about the business, unwillingness to act, lack of motivation, and so on. Check out the website of the Small Business Administration at http://sba.gov/ for more detailed information and guidance.
IS THIS THE RIGHT MLM BUSINESS FOR ME?
Most people entering into an MLM network marketing business ask one question; "Can I make (lots) of money with this?" A better consideration is the fit between you and the company. Not to be sexist, but a macho dude kind of guy may feel silly trying to sell Avon cosmetics, although Avon is a huge company with lots of successful male and female representatives. In this example, Mr. Macho may feel more comfortable linking up with a more traditionally male oriented company such as Amsoil synthetic motor oils (which has many female representatives), or a gender neutral company such as Ameriplan dental plans.
The best thing to consider before jumping into a relationship with a company is your own personal likes and dislikes. I, for example, am passionate about health and fitness, so it is natural that I have gravitated towards those types of companies. The second consideration is how you feel about an individual company's products or services. Would you use them yourself? Would you feel good recommending them to others even if you were not allied with the company?
HOW DO I BECOME SUCCESSFUL WITH AN ONLINE MLM BUSINESS?
In the offline MLM network marketing world, you start with a good company in a field you are passionate about. You learn the product and use the product. Don't try to "sell" the product. Then you sell yourself. You become a valuable and effective member of the community. You broaden your network of friends and acquaintances. You let it be known what you do, but do not force the product down anybody's throat and do not give a sales pitch unless you are asked to. You DO feel free to offer constructive advice within your field of expertise, and you should become an expert in your field, and give honest appraisals of your positive experiences with the product or service.
With an online MLM business, the steps are essentially the same. Your website will usually do a lot of the selling, but you use forums, articles, linking, ads and search engines to accomplish the same things as you would do off line.
DO I REALLY WANT TO GET INVOLVED WITH AN ONLINE MLM BUSINESS?
The bottom line is that you will not know until you try. However, starting an MLM business, or any new business, involves risk. If you dive in with both feet, quit your job and give it 1000% you may soar to the top or crash and burn. If you hang onto your job for the paycheck, benefits and the social and professional security it provides, you will be limited in your ability to grow your business. This does not mean the business WILL NOT grow; it just means that it will grow more slowly. Even the best business may not grow in leaps and bounds if you can only work on it for five to ten hours a week.
In most cases, there will be a lot of self-doubt and uncertainty even once the project has begun. There will be lags and slow progression due to learning curves, inexperience, nervousness, and the inability to work full time on the business. Therefore, production of income, or any other indicators of success, may be a long time coming. However, many network marketers have achieved great success with the use of two simple tools; time and perseverance.
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